Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the new SF1000 retains the philosophy of the previous car, but features a significant increase in downforce that is likely to cost it some top speed.
Last season Ferrari was the dominant team in terms of power unit performance, showing impressive straight-line speed but often losing out to the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull through corners. In focusing on those weaknesses, Binotto says the team has found clear gains in terms of downforce but that brings with it additional drag that could impact on its previous strength.
“Certainly we increased the level of downforce, by doing that we increased as well the level of drag,” Binotto said. “We believe that we have a car that will be faster in the corners but probably be slower in straights. Where is the right balance? Difficult to know; difficult to know what the others are doing as well. Certainly we increased the downforce by quite a lot.”
Last year’s straight-line speed advantage was in part due to a front wing philosophy that was low-drag, and Binotto says the same approach will be taken this year even though the wing on the car launched in Italy is an old one.
“Maybe it’s not our final one but certainly it’s our baseline for the start and we will bring it to the winter testing. What we have presented tonight, not the nose but the wing, is the one we finished (with) last year. We will not change our concept, it will remain like that.
“I think it is the right concept for us. We improved the downforce a lot, not only through the wing but if you look at the car itself — the turning vanes especially — quite a lot of high complexity, I would say.”
Binotto had referenced “very extreme” concepts on the car during the launch event, but says that doesn’t mean a departure from the direction Ferrari took with last year’s car.
“The rake is something we will try and test during Barcelona and the following races. The starting point of this car has been the one of last year, we haven’t changed the concept. So I would say the wheelbase and the rake are pretty much similar.”